Harrisburg Drive-In

6100 Allentown Boulevard,
Harrisburg, PA 17112

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Harrisburg Drive-In

The Harrisburg Drive-In was located 5 miles east of Harrisburg on Route 22 as the newspaper advertisements explained.

More specifically it was situated on a large piece of land between Route 22 (now Allentown Boulevard) and Jonestown Road. Beside the property ran S. Mountain Road. that crossed Route 22 and ran into the then-small village of Linglestown. It was opened on May 29, 1950 with Jane Wyman in “The Lady Takes a Sailor”. It was operated by Thomas & Paul Kerrigan.

The entrance was a large and rather impressive drive-through structure with a small marquee to the side. It was set at the corner of Route 22 and S. Mountain Road. There was a short driveway to several ticket kiosks and from there one could find a spot on the large (600 cars) parking area that fanned out from the screen.

There was a playground in front of the screen and exits beside it to Jonestown Road. Another exit was at the side of the parking area to Mountain Road.

Around 1953 two panels were added to the already huge screen to convert it to CinemaScope and other wide-screen processes.

I had moved out of Harrisburg by this time. My grandfather had been Justice of the Peace for Lower Paxton township and we moved into his home on Jonestown Road. just down from the drive-in. It was a somewhat rural area at the time and the owners used to let kids in the neighborhood wander in to watch movies from the back rows (though the screen seemed about a mile away from there).

The Harrisburg Drive-In shared a similar-style advertisement with the Keystone Drive-In in the Harrisburg newspapers, as they were both operated by the Kerrigan brothers.

The Harrisburg Drive-In was closed at the end of the 1987 season. It survived as a flea market for a time and then was razed to make way for a strip mall.

Contributed by Ross Care

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

muviebuf on March 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Actually in this case the land was never sold for development of a shopping center. Instead the owners of the drive-in developed the shopping center themselves and I believe those fellows still own and manage that shopping center today.

carolgrau on March 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm

They do they are the Kerrigan brothers,, a nice bunch of people.. I was a projectionist when thier father ran the theatre, then they leased it to UA, until the sons took it back Great booth XLs and Strong Futura II lamps RCA sound and a huge generator that sounded like a plane taking off when you started it….

Ross Care
Ross Care on March 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Ads for the Harrisburg and Keystone Drive-Ins, both showing CinemaScope films: View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on March 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm

PS: Click on ads to ENLARGE.

Lori1113 on March 21, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I have fond memories of this Drive In. My parents took all of us to this drive in, in the 50s. My sisters & brothers & myself used to love playing on the swings which were right under the screen. I later went on dates that took me there in the 60s. I also enjoyed the Flea Market they had there on Sundays. I wish it was still there. I would be taking my Grandchildren. Karns Market sits there now, along with a bank, a Burger King and a few other stores. I miss the good old days.

dallasmovietheaters on August 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Launched June 2, 1950 by Thomas and Paul Kerrigan who were also debuting their Hi-Way Drive-In in Frackville, PA at the same time.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 28, 2018 at 7:11 pm

I wish someone could find a photo.

DavidKehler on October 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

I grew up less than a mile from the Harrisburg Drive-In and saw a huge number of movies there. I also played on the swings in the daytime. My parents would take me in our car, and there were typically double features. The films would often be a few years old, but we didn’t mind. The refreshment stand snacks were yummy, and the theater promoted the refreshment stand aggressively. The speakers that provided the in-car sound weren’t the greatest, but they were functional. One of the main promotions was $1 a carload night. As a kid just walking to a spot at the back of the lot to see a movie without paying, I recall usually being chased out of there a lot by the management. With this coronavirus horror, I wish that drive-ins would make a comeback.

rivest266 on May 26, 2024 at 7:31 am

It opened on May 29th, 1950. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on May 27, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Last season: 1987.

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